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Boonie Bears: Guardian Code
Cast ( voices): Patrick Freeman, Joseph S Lambert, Paul Rhinehart, Kally Khourshid, Chris Boike, Olivia Seaton-Hill
Directors: Yongchang Lin, Heqi Shao
Rating: 2.5/5
Runtime: 96 min

 

The first-ever `Boonie Bears` film from the universally loved global animation franchise to be released in India, and the 11th overall, Guardian Code is about an android-based mom of two baby bears, whose corrupted memory when rectified shows her up as a deeply loving mother to her two bear-kids. The dominant theme here is appropriate for ‘Mother’s Day’ celebrations for those who think going for a movie is befitting the occasion.
 
The story begins with the two baby bears Briar (Patrick Freeman) and Bramble (Joseph S Lambert) being left behind when the mother goes to investigate what looks like a fire and doesn’t return. Thereafter it gets way too complicated for the young minds it is targeted at. With themes of eco-friendliness and surrogate love at the centre of it, the narrative flounders quite a bit before it can make sense of what it wants to say. 
 
The abandoned orphans who miss the idyllic life in the Pine Tree Mountain forest that they shared in the care of their loving, lullaby-singing mother Barbara (Kally Khourshid), never give up hope of seeing her again. But it’s only when they’ve grown up considerably that they get the chance to encounter a bear that looks very much like their mother. 
 
Long-winding and mysterious, the narrative is replete with underdeveloped characters and themes. The plot highlights how technology can replace humans – even a mother, with an android mom pre-programmed to be loving and caring. Basically, the story builds on assumptions that AI can replace humans. Characters like Charlotte (Olivia Seaton-Hill) who possesses a necklace that belonged to the orphaned bear cubs’ mother and the cubs’ logger friend Vick (Paul Rhinehart) have little to do here. Then there’s the villain, leader of the scrap-Rebel gang, the maniacal Leonard and a Dr. Roland (Chris Boike), a famed roboticist who is in awe of Charlotte’s equally famous, late mother Dr. Sue ( Nicola Vincent).
 
The storyline is not exactly kid-friendly and the treatment save for a round of mechanical throws of pastries by a robot, doesn’t have anything to really laugh about. The animation though is well rounded, distinctively Chinese looking and eye-pleasing. The flashback midway through the narration destroys coherence. Thereafter everything seems a little bizarre. The pace is pretty frenetic and the narrative gets relentlessly inventive but it’s certainly not suited for young kids whose attention span is suspect. The film is enjoyable if one can overlook all the storytelling faults and concentrate only on the eye-thrilling character dynamics.

 



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